I understand that it's disappointing to read about alternative approaches when you're on "team F-35"
Well perhaps I need to say this again for probably the 20th time in this thread... I 100% believe that a Eurofighter solution to replace the Tornado is the right option for Germany but Germany isn't sure on that and their future role in NATO Nuclear Sharing isn't clear. If they stay in nuclear sharing then putting a nuke on the Eurofighter is a cost prohibitive exercise, hence an American jet would be required. If an American jet is required, clearly the F-35 is that option.
but I think there's a lot we learn from this interview.
I disagree, hence why I already stated as such. Welcome to the world where not everyone has to agree.
It verifies that Airbus is willing to form a cooperation with Dassault. We learn that the industry's expectation is that Germany and France will allow funding to kick off the FCAS development in 2018. We learn that FCAS is intended to replace the capabilities currently provided by Tornado and Eurofighter. And we learn that Hoke proposed a Eurofighter upgrade (and not the current version) to replace the Tornado as a stop-gap measure.
Of course that would require Germany to pull out of nuclear sharing with the United States which in my opinion would make sense and which is something the German population is in favor of.
Nothing there is new. We know the only option for a future European fighter jet for Germany is a tie up between Airbus and Dassault. We know Dassault and Airbus want this to happen soon. We know Airbus propose to replace Eurofighter and Tornado capabilities with FCAS. We know Nuclear sharing is an issue in Germany right now. All of this has been in the last 3-5 pages of this thread.
Even if the Eurofighter is chosen as the replacement aircraft, production will run out by mid-2020s. The proposed FCAS would likely not enter final assembly until 2030, serial production commencing even later.
There doesn't appear to be any way that production of an upgraded Eurofighter will last until FCAS is ready. We know FCAS is targeted for an entry into service in approx 2040 and replace current Eurofighters by 2045.
If Germany pursues an upgraded Eurofighter then the alternatives are to gap the production line for a short period of time until the upgrades were ready or simply order more Eurofighters today and upgrade them to a newer standard later.
Realistically, what an upgraded Eurofighter will have is much of the upgrades already planned for other Eurofighter partners that wouldn't be coming to German jets anyway, such as AESA radar, conformal tanks, actually equipped their aircraft with the IRST, perhaps adding a terrain following radar mode, maybe adding some additional weapons and an outside chance of upgrading the engine. I don't see much else they will or can do beyond that.
Assuming standard F-35s are bought and no further Eurofighters, Germany would remain without any combat aircraft production for at least 5 years, possibly even more than 10. I think that politicians are looking into assembling or at least outfitting the German F-35 in Germany. Otherwise they're risking the loss of the current knowledge.
As others have suggested it would be expensive to locally assemble the F-35s so if value for money is needed that isn't the best procurement method. A better option would be to buy them off the shelf cheap as they can, operate them for 20 years and replace them with FCAS when that arrives. In the timeframe we are talking a German F-35 would be US$85 million or so each fly away.
One cannot lay off thousands of workers one day and expect them to come back 10 years later.
Germany and France would need to sort out where FCAS was being built before you kept those thousands of jobs. Dassault is already offering some of that work to Belgium being mindful Dassault will want local french manufacture as well. The good news is Germany has an active and established aerospace manufacturing industry so a future production line for an airbus military jet could hive workers from a civilian production line to assist.
I wonder if a combination could be viable:
1) Extend Eurofigher production to 2022-2026
2) Assemble/Work on custom F-35 (in Gemany) between 2023-2030
includes development of adequate pods for the recce & ew role and integration into the airframe
3) Start assembly of FCAS 2028-2032
Not sure why you need F-35s in there if you extend Eurofighter production?
FCAS is not happening until 2040 so as already stated above the timeframes don't really gel for a continuation of production.
http://www.janes.com/article/75550/airb ... er-concept
Airbus first revealed details of its FCAS work for the German Bundeswehr in mid-2016, at which time it was being pitched as a potential successor to the Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado fleet. However, given the compressed timelines involved in that particular effort (the service needs to field a replacement in 2025 in time for a 2030 out-of-service date), the FCAS in general and the New Fighter in particular is now being seen more as a potential replacement for the Eurofighter Typhoon, which is due to be retired from German service in about 2045.
Realistically, Rafale and Eurofighter both required close to 20 years to develop to the point they were functional, F-35 and F-22 were similar and from what we can see of J-20 and Su-57 they are also looking at those dev timelines. Even starting today, which won't happen with no German Government, the time it will take Germany/France/others to dev a new jet is long and the money for such needs to flow, probably at the expense of upgrades to Eurofighters/Rafales.